Assistant Professor of Geoscience Nick Metz recently had his research on an unprecedented tropical cyclone that struck the Pacific Northwest published in the American Meteorological Society’s Monthly Weather Review.
The paper, “Tropical Transition of an Unnamed, High-Latitude, Tropical Cyclone over the Eastern North Pacific,” explores the meteorological circumstances under which the 2006 weather event developed, eventually resulting in two fatalities and more than $70 million in damage. Metz coauthored the paper with Ph.D. candidate Alicia M. Bentley from The State University of New York at Albany.
“The tropical cyclones that most people are familiar with come from the tropics,” Metz says. “More recently, we have found that they can also form from a mid-latitude disturbance; often in the Atlantic around Bermuda or the middle of the East Coast. The one that occurred in 2006 was not far off the West Coast of the United States. No one called it a tropical storm at the time and it could have been lost to history.”
The research investigates the rare weather event in several ways, including the identification of the atmospheric features linked to the cyclone’s formation, providing an overview of the features and processes associated with its transition into a tropical cyclone, and discussion of landfall, its weakening and impact.
“This work is a reflection of my research philosophy,” Metz says. “Specifically, identifying new problems in order to find a way to make forecasts better, and using meteorology as a service to the public. Understanding unique weather phenomena like this can be used to help enhance the forecast process.”
In addition to being published, the research on the rare tropical cyclone was also presented at a number of national conferences. The research was supported in part by the HWS Office of the Provost.
Metz, who joined the Geoscience Department in 2011, has expertise in multiple areas of high-impact weather and recently worked with Professor of Geoscience Neil Laird on an extensive winter weather research and outreach project funded by the National Science Foundation.